Alastair Clarkson hits back at questioning over behaviour, angry outbursts, North Melbourne coach latest news


Alastair Clarkson has refused to answer questions over his expletive-laden tirade at St Kilda players in his first press conference since he was fined and handed a suspended two-match ban by the AFL.

In a terse exchange with a reporter, Clarkson said he only wanted to focus on this week’s game against GWS as he was asked whether he had the capacity to change following his latest transgression.

The four-time premiership coach was issued a $20,000 fine for “conduct unbecoming” when he confronted Saints Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard after the former’s illegal bump on Jy Simpkin in a pre-season match a fortnight ago.

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It’s understood Clarkson yelled a homophobic slur at the players that comes after a series of past verbal altercations, including with a Nine news reporter last year and a junior football goal umpire in 2012.

“We dealt with all that last week mate, so I’m happy that last week’s over – I covered all that last Monday through Friday, so we’re in a position now where we just want to focus on this week rather than the past,” Clarkson said on Tuesday when asked whether he believed he could alter his behaviour.

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson says he doesn’t want to talk further about the latest behavioural issue that attracted a fine and suspended ban from the AFL. Picture: Dylan Burns / Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

He interrupted the reporter when they asked what confidence people should have in his ability to change.

“I said last week we were going to put some things in place … who knows mate? I’m just focusing on putting all our energy into GWS this week to try and win a game of footy.”

Clarkson referred to statements he issued on Monday and Friday last week apologising for his language towards the Saints players, saying the “emotion of the moment” after Roos co-captain Jy Simpkin was concussed by Webster had “enveloped” him.

“At the outset, I want to reiterate my initial public apology and acknowledge that my exchange with the St Kilda players was unnecessary and the language I used was inappropriate,” Clarkson said on Friday.

“I am disappointed that I allowed the emotion of the moment to envelope me and I should not have engaged with the St Kilda players.

Clarkson’s outburst was directed at Saints including Jimmy Webster following his bump that concussed Jy Simpkin. Picture: Dylan Burns / Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“I have since apologised to St Kilda coach Ross Lyon, Jimmy Webster and Dougal Howard for the manner in which I reacted.”

AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said Clarkson’s language had been “highly inappropriate” as the coach was ordered to undertake a series of “Pride in Sport” education workshops.

“Alastair’s conduct does not represent behaviour acceptable to anyone in our game and not what is expected of a senior coach, especially someone of Alastair’s experience,” Meade said.

“While we understand there are emotions attached to the heat of the contest, engaging with an opposition player during the quarter-time break and then using language that is both unacceptable and highly inappropriate is something the AFL does not want in the game.”

Webster was sent straight to the AFL tribunal for the bump on Simpkin and was handed a seven-match suspension.

He is unlikely to return immediately to the Saints’ senior side when his ban lifts but would be notionally available to face North Melbourne in round 8.


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